Social Good

5 Amazing Young People Making a Difference

So many times we forget the value that young people bring to our society, when, in fact, they are capable of achieving things beyond our wildest dreams. Change makers come in all shapes and sizes and it’s young people who have the creativity and perseverance to be the change we want to see in the world. Big or small, young people are making differences in cities and countries across the continent. Just look at these 5 Amazing Young People Making a Difference. 

Mark Davis via Getty Images

Mark Davis via Getty Images

Denzel Thompson

This year’s Teen Nick HALO Award was presented to 18-year-old Denzel Thompson for his work with Philadelphia Urban Creators. Denzel is the co-founder of a nonprofit that works to revitalize urban areas by creating sustainable gardens. It began with an empty lot and turned into a youth led organization that serves entire neighborhoods.  

Maker Faire Africa

Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, Faleke Oluwatoyin and Bello Eniola

When they were only 14/15 years old, these Four Nigerian schoolgirls created a urine-powered generator that can turn a liter of urine into nearly six hours of electricity. The simple generator separates urine into nitrogen, hydrogen and water. This $64 prototype could help Nigeria’s 160 million citizens without access to electricity. Incredible!!

Jack Andraka

18 Year-Old Jack Andraka

At 15 Jack Andraka, of Maryland, invented a diagnostic test to detect pancreatic cancer in its most early stages. This ultra-sensitive,  low-cost test uses a simple dip-stick sensor to detects a protein called mesothelin in blood or urine before the cancer becomes invasive. The test is 90% accurate and 26,000 times cheaper than today’s standard.

For his work he won the top Gordon E. Moore Award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair — the world’s largest high school science contest.

Marian Bechtel WH Gov

Marian Bechtel

In February, Marian Bechtel presented a mine-detecting device she created, at the White House Science Fair. Marian’s detector is simple, cheap and reliable. When the detector lands above a buried landmine, it will send a clear signal to the wearer’s headphones. Rocks and dirt won’t resonate sounds the same way. Bechtel believes as technology has contributed to the amount of war that takes place, scientific advances can help us approach world peace.

James Ward credit Jessica Sutherland

James Ward

As a homeless teen, 19-year-old James Ward created an online campaign called “Homeless To Howard” in an effort to raise money to attend his dream school. At the time, James’s dreams of going to school seemed impossible until the donations from strangers started rolling in through the campaign. He, along with his mentor, Jessica Sutherland, who helped him with his campaign, have now created a non-profit organization to help other young people fund their college dreams.

Do you know a teen working to make a difference?

The Microsoft YouthSpark Challenge for Change contest is a chance for 18-25 year olds to share how they want to spark change in their world! Whether they’re already creating positive change, or ready to start, Microsoft wants to hear from them. No idea is too small or too big – real change comes in all shapes and sizes. The deadline is March 5- so spread the word to any young adults you know that may be interested!

5 grand prize winners will win:

  • A life-changing, volunteer travel experience in the Amazon to learn about creating change
  • $2,500 cash to help turn their ideas into a reality
  • A Microsoft technology bundle including a Windows Phone and an Xbox One
  • The opportunity to serve as a Microsoft YouthSpark ambassador and take advantage of YouthSpark training and resources

Everybody wins:

  • As a special thank you for entering, each entrant will receive a $10 donation gift card to support the project of their choice on YouthSpark on GlobalGiving.
  • 20 finalists will each receive a Microsoft Surface 2 with Office 365 University.

Visit Youth Spark Challenge to enter and learn more!

Jeana S

Jeana S

Research lab rat turned travel mom, Jeana S writes about gadgets, tech, entertainment, weddings and of course, travel. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and playing robots with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in Ben's underwear drawer.

3 Comments

  1. March 4, 2014 at 11:15 am — Reply

    Love hearing how these young people are changing the world!!

  2. March 5, 2014 at 4:14 am — Reply

    this is amazing, gives me hope and makes me smile.

  3. March 5, 2014 at 8:05 am — Reply

    I just love hearing about kids who are already making a difference.. It makes me inspired to create some change! :)

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